Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster


"They have gone down into the depths and you have led them there..."

Oscar Wilde

Andrew finally found and more what he had been looking for in the Castro District the attention of very, very wealthy gentlemen. One new friend, a lawyer named Eli Gould, had societal connections and introduced him to a world that Andrew had long craved, a world of limitless parties within the otherworld, where Hollywood stars, super-models and international headliners congregated in abundance and were accessible across a coffee table.

One famous person he met was one with whom he would later share discourse of fate, Italian-born fashion king Gianni Versace. Versace was gay and he was personable and, by all reports, shared dialogue with Andrew at the Colossus Discos after-opera party. It is believed that Versace, when meeting Andrew at the gala, mistook him as someone he had previously met overseas. Naturally, Andrew played along.

As Maureen Orth tells it: "The designer walked in with an entourage...who quickly introduced him to a few people. After about fifteen minutes of chitchat and waves of young men eager to met him, Versace began to survey the room. He noticed Andrew standing with Eli, cocked his head, and walked in their direction. I know you, he said to Andrew. Lago di Como, no? Versace was referring to the house he owned on Lake Como near the Swiss border...Andrew was thrilled and Eli couldnt believe it. Thats right, Andrew answered. Thank you for remembering, Signor Versace."

Versace with sister Donatella (AP)
Versace with sister Donatella

It had been one of the brighter spots in the young Cunanans life. He was having a hell of a time.

But the crystal life of the hoi polloi was only one side to the new lifestyle he discovered in San Francisco. Andrew had stepped down into the other end of the spectrum, too, where art meant porno tapes and culture closely resembled zoology. It was the murky, bottom-depth depravity of sadomasochism and parallel eroticism so prominent in the early 1990s California gay landscape. Money being no object, Andrew and his lovers descended into the labyrinthine wastelands of orgies, leather and chains. The "games" they played included erotic whippings; the victims were those charming young men like Andrew who let themselves be handled in a number of perverted ways.

Andrew took part in videos, some of which still sell in adult stores. He was fast becoming the ultimate sex slave of the porno underground. He didnt care, but enjoyed the status, for he indeed found arousal in humiliation and pain. "In one of the most disturbing scenes." writes Wensley Clarkson, "he was physically tortured by a gang of men in a mass rape scene that even the most hardened of Cunanans friends found difficult to watch."

As if he were todays Dorian Gray, the wantonness eventually seemed to spill over onto the surface of his caricature. An ugly Caliban threatened to disfigure the pretty features of Andrew Cunanan. A darker, more vindictive side oozed up from under. He changed from the devil-may-care to the devil-does-care. In retrospect, associates said he suddenly became angry, talked angry, did angry things. He sank into foul moods that, at best, could be described as meanness. One friend, Tim Schwager, remembers the night that Andrew had dropped something into his drink; he had taken Schwager home and lusted on him. "I shudder to think (how) he could have killed me at any time during the hours I was drugged and unconscious," the man reports. And he says he will never forget the sardonic grin on Andrews face, the first thing he saw when he came to.

His behavior slid. At a paparazzi party, Andrew fell all over television star Lisa Kudrow; insisting she get him a screen test. When she disappeared suddenly without saying goodbye, Andrew vehemently stalked room to room giving other guests his appraisal of her. "Shes a bitch!" he growled.

Having met English actor Hugh Grant at a celebrity gala, days later, when Andrew tried out for a walk-on role for a Grant film and wasnt chosen, he became convinced that it was the stars personal doing.

When one young man visited Andrew one night, he was aghast at how he had changed his bedroom into a shrine dedicated to actor Tom Cruise. When he brought it up in conversation, Andrew spent much of that evening cursing Cruises wife, Nicole Kidman, because she "had" Cruise and he probably never would.

Everyone who knew Andrew agreed. Somewhere along his personal river of human emotion, an oar had fallen from the canoe.


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